Baldwin Wallace Has a Successful Winter Season With Three OAC Championship Teams
BEREA, OHIO -- The Baldwin Wallace University winter sports season ends on March 22 when freshman diver Todd Richert (North Royalton) competes at the 2008 NCAA Division III National Championship Meet at Miami of Ohio. Overall, it has been another successful winter in Berea with three teams winning Ohio Athletic Conference titles.
Cheri Harrerís womenís basketball team had a 27-3 record, won both the OAC regular season and OAC Tournament titles and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Bill Taraschkeís womenís indoor track team won the OAC title -- its 18th in the last 21 years. And, the menís swimming and diving team, under the direction of second-year Head Coach Sara Gildea, tied for the OAC regular season crown.
Individually, senior 165-pound wrestler Gino Russo (Northfield Center) and Rickert highlighted the winter season for student-athletes and veteran Menís Basketball Coach Steve Bankson reached another career milestone with his 700th victory.
Russo placed sixth at the Division III National Wrestling Championships and earned All-America honors for the second straight season. Richert, the 2008 OAC Male Diver of the Year, entered the national swim meet ranked fourth in the one-meter diving event and fifth in the 3-meter event. In addition, junior Ashley Scullion (Kentwood, Mich.) was named as the Julie Zajac Most Outstanding Distance Runner in the OAC.
Cheri Harrer was the OAC Womenís Basketball Coach of the Year for the fourth time in her career and Bill Taraschke and his staff was named as the OAC Womenís Indoor Track Coaching Staff of the Year. Bankson, who has spent 28 seasons in Berea as menís basketball coach and athletic director and is the third winningest menís basketball coach in OAC history with 420 wins, earned his 700th career victory when BW defeated Marietta College to end the regular season.
Harrerís basketball team came one win shy of tying the school single-season record of 28. En route to its OAC titles and 10th NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 13 years, her team captured the Anderson (Ind.) University and BW Holiday tournament titles. Senior guard Selena Eskinazi-Budge (Beachwood) led the team in scoring and earned first-team All-OAC, Academic All-OAC and first-team ESPN THE MAGAZINE Academic All-District IV accolades. In addition to Budge, senior classmates Stacia Shrider (Marietta), Carly Flowers (North Baltimore) and Jessa Diaz (Amherst) ended their careers with a 96-21 record, three OAC regular season titles, two OAC Tournament crowns and three appearances in the NCAA tourney, including an Elite Eight finish in 2005-2006.
Led by Scullionís individual wins in the 3000-meter run and 1-mile run, Taraschkeís track teams continued their OAC dominance. In addition to winning its 18th OAC indoor crown, BW has won 15 conference cross country titles, including last fall, and 16 outdoor titles. Three other individuals and a relay team also won titles as junior Rebekah Paul (Gibsonburg) won the 500-meter dash with a school-record time, senior Kristen Paulsen (Oberlin) won the high jump and senior Courtney Beckett (Monaca, Pa.) won the triple jump and the Distance Medley Relay placed first. In addition, the menís team placed fourth and had numerous season and personal bests.
On the wrestling mats, Russo led the way and was a dominant 22-0 until an injury in the first minute of a January 15 match cost him both his unbeaten mark and five weeks of competition. Rising like a pheonix from the ashes, Russo returned to action the week of the OAC Championships to go on to avenge his only loss, win his second straight OAC crown and davnace to the national tourney and claim All-American honors. He ended his season at 27-4 overall and his career with a 92-29 slate.
Richertís outstanding diving this winter has led to his setting records in four of five events, including the one-meter optional, 1-meter voluntary, 1-meter championship and three-meter championship events. At the OAC Championship Meet, he won the 3-meter event by a wide margin and placed second in the 1-meter event. Other male individual champions included sophomore Vince Colwell (Parma) in both the 50-yard freestyle and 200-yard backstroke and junior Sean Sonnenberg (Napoleon) in the 200 free, and the 200-yard medley relay team was victorious. For the women, sophomore Ryan Reynolds (Westerville) won the 200-yard butterfly and helped the women to a third place finish at the OAC Meet.
In addition to Bankson winning his 700th career game in menís basketball, senior Brendan Schuler (Fairview Park) ended a stellar four-year career on the hardwood. Schuler finished as a three-time All-OAC player who is 18th all-time in scoring with 1,159 points, third with 484 assists, seventh with 182 three-pointers and 10th with 121 steals.